Beneath the surface, however, Germany had undergone a rapid and sweeping revolution that reached deep into the fabric of daily life. It had occurred quietly and largely out of easy view. At its core was a government campaign called Gleichschaltung—meaning “Coordination”—to bring citizens, government ministries, universities, and cultural and social institutions in line with National Socialist beliefs and attitudes.
Hitler himself acknowledged, in a remark to his minister of justice, “we are living at present in a sea of denunciations and human meanness.”
The most visible marker of the Coordination campaign was the sudden appearance of the Hitler salute, or Hitlergruss.
The German public had so avidly embraced the salute as to make the act of incessantly saluting almost comical, especially in the corridors of public buildings where everyone from the lowliest messenger to the loftiest official saluted and Heiled one another, turning a walk to the men’s room into an exhausting affair.